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lil
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It would depend on which manufacturer you are asking. In Apple's case it was almost every year until recently—more than likely because there was so much of Mac OS X that needed fixing and Tiger seems to have finally got there; and updates will now slow.

Microsoft (not wishing to be preachy) took three years to go from '95 to '98 and 2 years from '98 to ME. For NT they release 3.51 in 1995, NT4 in 1996, and Windows 2000 in 1999—again three years. XP took 2 years from 2000's release. Averaged out—MS tends to release an OS every 2 1/2 years.

I think the point is for what was promised, Vista fails to live up to most of things promised. I think the other thing is the frustrations that it will have taken nigh on five years for MS to update the OS which has amounted to not the huge revolutionary step once promised—I think that is where the disappointing factor arises from; not the fact that Vista is inherrently broken or bad.

The other factors is that much of Vista's capability debuted in April 2005 with OS X Tiger—and that Mac users have had that capability for a year and a half by the time Vista is released; by which time Leopard will not be far away at all—which will if all reports are correct, will further widen the gap between OS'.

Also—it is contradictory, as MS said that tne NT4 to Nt5/2000 debacle (ie: time taken to develop) would not happen again—and it has to an even worse extent. Windows XP took 2 years and was a *very* successful update to Windows.

So yes, some OS updates do take 4-5 years for updates, but generally the updates should be much more exciting for that development time than what Vista has apparently turned out as being.

The bottom line seems to be that at present if you Mac OS X Tiger + iLife, you have an OS and set of apps either mostly on par with Vista or a million miles better (in respect to iLife alike apps).

Vicky